CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Raphaël Rousseleau

Raphaël Rousseleau

Field(s): Ethnology / Social Anthropology
Institutional affiliation(s): Université de Lausanne

Professional contact information





Anthropology Professor (politico-religious process, IRCM-FTSR) at the Université de Lausanne (Switzerland).

PhD in Social Anthropology (EHESS, 2004), trained in Philosophy and Archaeology.

Scholarships and postdoc: fellowship recipient, then adjunct associate at the EHESS (2004-06); former lecturer at the INALCO (Indian popular religions)

postdoctoral fellowship from the Quai Branly Museum (2006-07)

Fellow of the ANR program entitled HimalArt: ‘Objets d’art’ d’Himalaya (dir. G. Krauskopff, LESC, Paris X-Nanterre), then for SOGIP (Scale of Governance: The UN, the States and Indigenous People, dir. I. Bellier, LAIOS), funded by the European Research Council (2011-2015).


Up until now, my work has been focused on four main areas:

1 - ethnology of the adivasi or Indian ‘tribes’;

2 - anthropology of art/aesthetics;

3 - the linkages between politics and religion and ‘modern’ reconfigurations;

4 - local forms and figures of knowledge.


1 - My original area of expertise is the history and ethnography of the Scheduled Tribes or adivasi: the ‘indigenous’ peoples of India. My dissertation focused on the “politico-ritual institutions” of such a group in Odisha, about which I in particular demonstrated links with forms of royal patronage (cf. publications, 2008). On the basis of this research, I generalized the examination of hegemonic discourses on these minorities: Puranic texts and temple-foundation narratives, colonial reports, current urban and museum discourses, debates surrounding development and mining projects, etc. Symmetrically, I am interested in the terms in which the adivasi recognize themselves (‘people of the earth,’ today ‘native peoples’ or peoples who honor Nature/the mountain, etc.), in order to face the difficult contemporary situation (rampant industrialization, education, etc.). I am preparing a new fieldwork project on the agriculture of these groups.

2 - I have also worked on the constitution of the category of Indian tribal art, which I re-placed within a history of rural art and craftsmanship in India; this work is still in the process of being published.

In this area of aesthetics, I am currently conducting an ethnography of the sense experience of the pilgrimage to Puri, Odisha, to visit Jagannath (an incarnation of Krishna), and the universalization of this regional god via discourse and iconographies. I am considering several publications to be drawn from this rich material.

3 - One of the emphases of my research (and teaching) pertains to the arrangements reached between religious and political functions, and the reconfigurations specific to India brought about by the adoption of modernist institutions and discourses. Here again, I have been particularly interested in a few controversies surrounding Jagannath.

4 - One of the areas of study I hope to develop soon (in collaboration) pertains to regional forms of knowledge and scholarly authorities.



Personal page on the site of the Université de Lausanne


Research teams / groups


2014-2018 | Co-coordinator with Marie Fourcade and Tiziana Leucci of the research group entitled Love, between Norms and Transgression: Art, History, Fiction

2010-2013 | Co-coordinator with Catherine Servan-Schreiber (CNRS) of the network entitled “Industries culturelles, scènes artistiques et littéraires indiennes”

2010-2013 | Member of the team entitled “Cultures et constructions historiques dans l’Asie du Sud de la première modernité”



Member of the team entitled “Scale of Governance: The UN, the States and Indigenous People,” headed up by Irène Bellier (LAIOS, CNRS-EHESS), funded by the “ERC Advanced Grant” program.


Conference organization


Organized, with Tiziana Leucci, the international conference entitled Contre-culture dans les arts indiens. Peinture néo-tantrique ; littérature, musique et danse dans les années 60-80, 28 and 29 May, 2015 at the Quai Branly Museum

Organized, with Catherine Servan-Schreiber, the 18th journée d’études du CEIAS entitled Dynamiques des industries culturelles indiennes, 9 December, 2013

Organized, with Tiziana Leucci, the international conference entitled De la “danse de Shiva” à la World Music. Icône du rythme et langage des gestes entre l’Inde, l’Europe et les États Unis, 29 and 30 May, 2012 at the Quai Branly Museum

Organized the 16thjournée d’étude du CEIAS entitled Du texte au terrain, du terrain au texte. Dialogues disciplinaires autour de l’œuvre de Madeleine Biardeau, 5 April 2011

Organized the workshop entitled L’art d’être autochtone: Figures du tribal et figurations tribales en Inde, at the Quai Branly Museum; funded by the Quai Branly Museum, the CEIAS, the ANR program HimalArt and the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 18 June 2010. As a sideline to the exhibit entitled “Les autres maîtres de l’Inde,” this workshop brought together French, British and Indian scholars to re-examine the definitions of tribal art in India, and trace the ways in which primitivist artistic discourse came to influence the productions of tribal artists themselves.




since 2011: Various courses in the history and anthropology of ‘politico-religious processes’

2010-11: Contributions on “Religions et pratiques populaires” as part of the course on Indian civilization at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales

2006-10: Lectureship in the anthropology of religions at the Université de Lausanne

2004-06: Reading workshop on the links between ethnology and history centered on India, as an Adjunct Associate in social anthropology, as part of the AMO (Asie Meridionale et Orientale—South and East Asia) emphasis of the EHESS Master’s program


Secondary affiliation


Research group on ‘Anthropologie des Institutions et des Organisations Sociales,’ through the SOGIP team headed up by Irène Bellier (Senior Research Fellow, CNRS-EHESS).


Key words


Anthropology of politics and religion;

Anthropology of aesthetics and space;

Cultural memory and uses of the past, technical metaphors and “practical sense”;

Ethno-history of the realms of Orissa and tribal populations (of Austric/Munda and Dravidian languages);

Colonial history and epistemology of the categories of “Scheduled Tribes” and adivasi or “Indian aborigenes,” of “religion,” “art,” “literature”…

Representations of cities, discourses and realities of development, of industrialization;

Adivasi demands, “reinvention” of traditions, rights of “native peoples,” etc.





See the complete list on the Unil website:






Last update: 14 September, 2016



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